Currently around 15% of land in England and Wales is unregistered meaning that, although the land is owned, the details of the owner have not been registered with HM Land Registry.

The majority of this unregistered land is owned by the Crown, the aristocracy or the Church and an event which would trigger compulsory registration (as set out in the Land Registration Act 2002) has not taken place.

What triggers compulsory land registration?

Compulsory registration is most commonly triggered when land is sold, gifted, inherited or mortgaged.

In the event that property requires registration with HM Land Registry, or should the land owner decide to submit an application for voluntary registration, they will need to demonstrate proof of ownership in the form of original deeds. This must date back for a period of at least the previous fifteen years.

What documents are needed?

A conveyancer will require copies of the original deeds, and any other relevant older documents, so that they can review the title and ascertain any rights and/or covenants benefitting or burdening the property.

The benefits of voluntary land registration

There are a number of advantages to registering land voluntarily.  One being that registered land is quicker and easier to deal with, should the owner decide to sell, gift, mortgage or leave the property to another in their will.

In addition, where land has been registered, it can help to reduce the risk of a successful claim for adverse possession as it will be obvious to HM Land Registry that the land is owned by an individual or a company.  In the event that an application is made to HM Land Registry to claim an interest in land that is already owned, they would know who they should serve notice on, allowing the land owner to raise an objection.

Finally, any voluntary application for registration of property with HM Land Registry receives a discount on the land registration fee charged by HM Land Registry.

We can guide you through the registration process

Our specialist agricultural team is experienced in dealing with applications for first registration, together with sale and purchase transactions involving unregistered land.

If you require support or guidance with an application for first registration of your land then please do give us a call on 01789 416400 and ask to speak to a member of the agricultural team.

Written By

Published: 12th April 2023
Area: Agriculture

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Alex specialises in agricultural property law and has been working within the agricultural sector since he qualified as a solicitor.

Esme is a Newly Qualified Solicitor, who specialises in Agricultural and Rural Property Law.

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